Species / International Ovis

Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep

Ovis canadensis canadensis


Alberta: Western part of the province along the Rocky Mountains near the border with British Columbia. - Arizona: Southeastern part of the state near the border with New Mexico. - British Columbia: The Omineca-Peace and Kootenay wildlife regions in the Rocky Mountains near the border with Alberta. Also introduces in two areas (Unit 3-17, west of Spences Bridge, and Unit 3-20, southeast of Kamloops) in the Thompson-Nicola Wildlife Region that were formerly California bighorn habitat. - Colorado: Throughout the Rocky Mountain region. - Idaho: Western and central parts north of I-84. - Montana: Western parts. - Nebraska: Northwestern part of the state. - Nevada:East-central part near Mt. Moriah. - New Mexico: Southwestern part near the Arizona border, and in the Pecos Wilderness in the north-central region. - Oregon: Northeastern corner. - South Dakota: (non-indigenous): Three areas in the southwestern part, where they were introduced from Wyoming and Colorado. This was once the range of the extinct Audubon bighorn. - Utah: One herd in the northeastern part on the Nevada border, another northeast of Green River. - Washington: Extreme southeastern parts. - Wyoming: Mainly in the northwest, but also in the north-central and south-central parts.


Weight: 200-250 pounds, occasionally as much as 300 pounds. The Rocky Mountain bighorn is the largest sheep in North America and one of the largest in the world. It is a heavy-bodied animal with massive horns and a full, coarse, grayish-brown coat. The muzzle is white, as are the backs of the front legs and insides of hind legs. The belly is white in the groin area, with the white color sometimes extending forward onto the chest. The rump patch is large and white, surrounding the dark tail. The horns are very thick at the base and tend to carry the thickness throughout their length. Typically, the horns curl close to the head and are broomed off at the eyes where further growth would interfere with vision.


Mountain ridges and basins, usually above timber line, but often in timbered areas as well.


It has been said that of all the world’s sheep, the Rocky Mountain bighorn – especially one with horns of trophy proportions – is by far the most difficult to collect. Surveys indicate that bighorn hunts have the lowest success ratios of all sheep hunts.

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